Mounties surprised defending Sydney Shield Premiers Wentworthville Magpies with a thumping 36-10 win in the Sydney Shield match of the round at Ringrose Park yesterday.
In an opening round that saw heatwave conditions and an incredible 77 tries scored in the seven matches played, it was the performance of “the Mulga” against their arch-rivals that was the main talking point of the round.
Mounties stunned Wenty with a near-perfect first half in the 30-plus-degree conditions – scoring four converted tries to take a commanding 24-nil lead to the half-time break.
Despite Alex Chan’s defending Premiers mounting a comeback of sorts in the second half, Mounties, led by classy half Brad Speechley, were always in control and ran out comfortable six-tries-to-two winners.
Hills District Bulls coped best with the heatwave at Windsor Sports Complex on Saturday to trounce the Wolves 44-26 in one of many tryfests over the weekend.
With prodigal son Brad Horder pulling the strings at half in his comeback game for the Bulls after a departure from Asquith, Hills District scored nine tries to five to get their season off to a winning start.
Down the road a few hours later on Saturday, Sydney Shield newcomers St Marys posted an historic debut victory when they outscored local rivals Blacktown Workers 46-30.
With prop Joe Vaegaau and second-rower Phil Salevao bagging two tries each, the home side scored nine tries for their first up win.
Guildford Owls scored an easy 48-14 victory over a young Asquith outfit in their match at McCredie Park on Saturday in another contest where the hot conditions saw plenty of points and tries scored.
Nineteen-year-old winger James Gammidge and five-eighth Dean Matterson scored two tries each as the Owls' backline put their Asquith opponents to the sword in the sweltering conditions with a nine-tries-to-three win.
The Western Suburbs Magpies were the other impressive winners alongside Mounties in Round 1 – thrashing the Auburn Warriors 46-6 at Campbelltown yesterday.
George Kulen’s young charges were untroubled and led all day to score an easy eight-try win over the outclassed Warriors – with their exciting backline leading the way.
Fullback Roman Loelu, wingers Niall Walker and Jai Doolan, along with second-rower Kurt Atkinson all scored doubles to place Wests on top of the Shield table after Round 1 on percentages.
The Peninsula Seagulls scored a thrilling 28-22 win over Cabramatta at Forestville Oval on Saturday to give former dual code and dual international star Craig Gower a winning debut as a senior coach alongside former NRL journeyman Scott Pethybridge.
With fullback Jake Pickering a standout, the Seagulls led 16-4 at half-time and then 22-4 against the run of play with the custodian’s brilliant 80-metre solo try.
The Two Blues – led by halfback Grayson Goodwin and determined to start afresh after a well-documented horror 2015 – then stormed back into the game to level up at 22-all with 5 minutes left.
The Seagulls then regained the lead when centre Barry McGrady finished a cross-field kick movement with 60 seconds remaining to score the winning try. The Seagulls held on for one last tackle with their 12 men to secure a five-tries-to-four victory.
Finally, on Sunday at Lionel Watts Reserve, Belrose posted a 29-22 win over East Campbelltown in an all Eagles ‘battle of the birds’ that also went down “to the wire”.
A brilliant Christian Bate try set up by Belrose captain/coach James Mortimer gave Belrose a 16-6 lead before two East Campbelltown tries levelled the scores at 16-all at half-time.
East Campbelltown then gallantly held on for no less than 10 successive sets in defence inside their own 20-metre area for the first 20 minutes of the second half before finally cracking to give Belrose the lead at 22-16.
A superb try to winger Craig Moustakas saw the visitors level the scores at 22-all against the run of paly with 11 minutes left, before a Mortimer field goal and a second try to powerful centre Andrew Halstead right on full-time sealed the win for the home side.
HHH will be calling the East Campbelltown v Asquith Sydney Shield game at Waminda Oval this Sunday - coverage starts at 2:15pm with kickoff at 2:30pm.